Virginia’s Gubernatorial Election is right around the corner. The negative advertisements are all over TV, the candidates personal lives are being made evermore public, and soon, get-out-the-vote initiatives will be in full force. However there seems to be a general consensus amongst voters that neither candidate is the right man for the job. All tough frustrating, this election makes for interesting coverage by local news. I’m a native Richmonder and am familiar with the local paper’s (The Richmond Times Dispatch) practice of ALWAYS throwing their support behind a gubernatorial candidate. Thus I was interested when they announced (via this article http://www.timesdispatch.com/opinion/our-opinion/today-s-top-opinion-the-election-forgetting-by-the-election/article_6a2c5e41-20f3-561a-a25d-52eedf4741f3.html) that they “cannot in good conscience endorse a candidate for governor”. All throughout the Summer and early Fall the Times has been quite negative towards both candidates but this has become the final nail in the coffin. The question remains, when a prominent local news paper says they will not support a candidate because they are disgusted with the options, will voters be effected? Will people go to the polls, will write-in votes become significant, will people take the election seriously?
This comes at a very interesting time for me personally. Working on the SNaPP Lab’s Obamacare project our team currently in the process of collecting local news paper data from all 50 states from August 2009 (during the heat of the health care debate) to see how local newspaper frames may shape public opinion. The case in The Richmond Times Dispatch will provide a sneak peak into this question, measured by voter turn out and election results. This year’s election will certainly be an interesting one, with strong political implications as well as an interesting case for those in political psychology.